We are the Snyder family and ... we are different

This is the story of our journey to our daughter in Ethiopia. God is preparing our family for her and preparing her heart to come home to her family. We chose the difficult road of trusting and obeying God. It is worth every step!

Friday, July 30, 2010

just some stats

According to the state department only 16 children were adopted from Rwanda last year and in the last 5 or 6 years only 49 children have been. There are approximately 150 orphans in the Home of Hope orphanage we are adopting from and almost 1 million orphans in Rwanda. Wow! When we started this process I knew that the adoption program in Rwanda was not very old, but those numbers are staggering. Please continue to pray for more adoptions from Rwanda and pray that they make it easier and faster for families to adopt.

I was also checking on our agency's website and it is somewhat disheartening that the last update on the Rwanda page is from May and doesn't actually have anything to do with Rwanda but is just a notice about an adoption conference. The last thing posted on the Rwanda page that actually has to do with Rwanda is from February. Again sort of disheartening. Pray that the families who have been waiting more than 9 months now for any word from Rwanda hear something very soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

word from uscis

Dustin and I have been getting very antsy about our I600A application and why it was taking so long to get our fingerprinting appointment. I mention these next few comments in the previous post so it will sound redundant, but I can't help it, sorry. I (being slightly obsessive) was thinking that something wasn't filled out properly, that it got lost, or that something else I hadn't thought of was holding up progress. It did not help that another family in Indiana not only turned their application after us and had already received their appointment, but that they have also gotten their fingerprinting done all in the same time it took us to just get our appointment notice. By the way, we did get our appointment notice in the mail today. FINALLY!!!!! I thought I would be so relieved when it finally came because then I could stop obsessing about it and relax a little. Nope. Turns out that our appointment is not scheduled until August 23rd, almost 4 weeks away. The only way to possibly get an appointment sooner is by writing a letter to the department in Des Moines and if they happen to have something sooner they may reply to you with a different date. Otherwise, if you don't hear anything from them you are just expected to show up on the initial scheduled date. So, if it takes another 3 weeks after our fingerprinting to get our I-171H approval then we are looking at mid September. It seems to take around a month or so (although every time I say stuff like that it actually takes us twice as long) for the dossier to get to Rwanda once it's submitted to the agency. Once upon a time I dreamed of possibly, I knew it would be a long shot, of getting a referral by Christmas. HA! I will be amazed if we get one by next summer. So if you see me, please don't ask me how the adoption is going. Because it really doesn't seem to be. Did I also mention I am very grumpy and depressed right now? My heart hurts so much right now, it physically hurts inside my chest to breathe without any hope.

I know that God has perfect timing. I know that He does! In fact, earlier in the week we learned about November being National Adoption Awareness month, November 20th being National Adoption day and November 7th being orphan Sunday. Dustin and I would really like to do something special for it. I was thinking about doing some sort of picnic/potluck for all adopted families in our area as well as anyone interested in it. Maybe having a speaker and some games and crafts for the kids. It got me to wondering if it is part of God's plan for us to reach out while we wait. I prayed and prayed and a calm came over me to obey and work in His timing. We wait to help others. Is a day like today another confirmation of God asking me, "did you not say that you would obey and wait?" I did Lord. Bring peace over my heart so that I may be a blessing to others. It's not all about me.

Please continue to pray for our journey, for our struggles. The elections in Rwanda are closing in, please pray for peace.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

feeling sick

Sometimes reading other families' adoption blogs is such a blessing to me, other times my slightly obsessive personality should not read them. Tonight I found many new blogs that were of great help and interest to me. Then I read one that I have read before and in fact communicated with the couple. They already received their appointment for federal fingerprinting just 5 days after they sent in their I600A application. Great! How awesome for them. On the other hand we turned our homestudy in on July 8th to join our application and have heard nothing. It makes me literally sick to my stomach. I feel phyically sick because then I think that there must be something wrong with our application, that I must have failed to fill something out properly, that there is something wrong the homestudy, that I have now caused our process to go on longer. Did I mention my obsessive behavior? All I can do is pray that in God's own timing it will get done. I need to use that as my mantra everyday.

Pray for patience for me. patience, patience, patience. trust, trust, trust. faith, faith, faith. obey, obey, obey.

Monday, July 19, 2010

preparation

This week has been a reflection of how this journey of adoption started so long ago. Even before our oldest was born we always knew we wanted to adopt but our hearts were not ready for it. God put in place many hard lessons for us to learn from. We had to learn what trusting Him really looked like and how it would change our lives. That trust then turned into changing someone else's life and knowing that we can change the world. We would never have been ready for this type of commitment had we not gone through the struggles that we did...marital, financial, emotional, spiritual. All those things put together this plan to change our hearts, how amazing! When I think about what a long road we have already been on I don't get so worried about the road ahead of us. These next few months of waiting are really nothing compared to the years that have already passed. I know I will still be sad, frustrated and impatient but I also know that God has a plan already laid out and if we continue to trust and obey Him then everything will work out in the way He made it.

Recently I have also been struggling with being a good steward of what God gives us. I have felt very guilty about wasting what God has blessed us with. We have talked about doing fund-raisers for our adoption but have decided that we should be able to finance it as long as we are good stewards with what we have (that means better than what we have been doing!). We would still like to fund-raise though for other families that we know who are adopting. Hopefully I will be planning some things coming up this fall. We feel like God is telling us to bless those around us and don't worry about ourselves. He will provide, He already has. In months to come look for t-shirt sales, bakes sales, scrapbook crops and whatever else I may be able to come up with. We want to be a blessing so that more people can adopt and continue to expand God's family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

faith-not really about the adoption, just in general :)

In a previous post I mentioned how this journey of adoption has really been more of a journey of my faith. In the last week or two I have really seen that take shape. At church a new Beth Moore women's study started, if you have never had the opportunity to do a Beth Moore study FIND ONE! She has a way of getting to your heart in a practical way and making you think about something that you may not have wanted to before. Anyway, so I went to that study where we talked about fears the first week and she also mentioned spiritual gifts which is another bible study I am in right now. The next day the boys and I went to Playdate of Purpose and talked about obedience. It seemed that God had a very specific message for me that week about being faithful to Him and obedient even in times when I don't want to, when I'm afraid, all the time. I was supposed to go out of town that weekend with a new friend of mine and just felt overwhelmed the night before while I was praying. I felt awful because I had to call her the next day and tell her I couldn't go. God was telling me to stay home and I would be blessed, if I was going to say I was faithful that meant even when I didn't want to be. Trust me I really didn't want to be, I really wanted to go away for a girls' weekend.

Well God did bless me with some great family time, a way for us to save money for the adoption, also went to the vacation bible school meeting that I was supposed to and talked to a woman at church for over an hour about adoption. I learned some things from her and also got encouraged. It's so nice to be able to talk to someone who knows exactly how you feel and can answer questions. I found out that the lady I was supposed to go with also had a very nice relaxing time by herself, maybe just what she needed. It could have been God's plan for us to remain growing friends instead of going away and perhaps not liking each other when we got back, you just never know.

There are daily lessons for each one of us and it looks like I'm still working on the one of trust and obedience. I pray that whatever lesson you are working on in your heart that God grants the holy spirit to culminate in you to change.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I-600A submitted

Today I picked up our completed homestudy and sent it certified mail to join our I-600A application in Dallas, TX. Now we wait to hear from the USCIS office to find out where we go for our federal fingerprinting, from other blogs I've read it usually takes 2-4 weeks for that. I have absolutely no idea where we go to get that done, we're thinking maybe the quad cities. After the fingerprinting gets done it should be another 2-4 weeks and we'll receive I171H approval and will be ready to get our dossier authenticated. Just one more small step on our way to Africa to get our daughter, SO EXCITED!

For those of you who have been following I may or may not have mentioned that Dustin has also started a blog about our adoption because he has seen how blogging really opens me up. I love his posts because it gives me a better glimpse of funny little things that he may be thinking or feeling about the adoption that he may not verbalize to me. The same way he finds out lots of my emotions from my blog. It may seem weird that we are finding out things about each other this way but I really think it helps because there are lots of things that are easier to write than to say. I know for me I don't want to feel like I'm thinking about it all the time and having the same thoughts over and over and that's ALL I'm talking about so I just don't talk about it. If you want to read more about Dustin's blog just go to www.dustinsnyder.wordpress.com

Friday, July 2, 2010

homestudy approved!

i just checked my email today and got a woot woot from our social worker (quite literally, lol) and our homestudy has been approved. It will be notarized and ready for us to pick up next week. I am soooooo excited! This means as soon as I can get it I can send it off to the USCIS, get our federal fingerprinting done, and then we will be approved to bring a child into the United States. While that process is getting done I will be making sure that our dossier is all in check and ready to go because once we get our approval it will be time to take a little road trip to Des Moines to get everything authenticated. Once that's done we can send our dossier to America World and it will be on it's way to Rwanda. Did I mention I am sooooooo excited? lol:)

I am finally feeling like we are making some sort of progress. We might, I do say might, actually be able to get our dossier sent out by the time school starts. Only about a month later than I thought it would get done (thanks again Family Practice) but at least done before school starts. Most of the other blogs I have looked at it took between 4-6 weeks before they got their I171H back with all the fingerprinting and everything. Now of course if the USCIS is really busy it will be later, but I am remaining faithful in God's perfect timing. Pray continuously, pray without ceasing! I am so thankful.

One person certainly worth mentioning is our homestudy case worker. She has been the one person to be really helpful whether it was answering emails at 10:00 at night, giving us helpful suggestions, doing things very quickly or just an inspiring word, she has really been a shining star for us. Thank you!

Hopefully any of you who may see me and ask me about how the adoption is going I will have a better spirit about it. I have been very frustrated for the past few weeks and have not been very pleasant when asked about the adoption, but ask me now. I am encouraged and excited again. I have shed many tears for the past couple of months and will shed many more. Today the tears can be of some relief and some joy.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us. Please keep praying. Pray that these next steps go quickly and smoothly. Pray that we continue to feel encouraged through God's strength. Pray that our little girl is being taken care of and that Rwanda will have some political peace.